Edmonds painter Andy Eccleshall brings ‘Luminosity’ to Seattle Art Museum

Guests share their thoughts about Icon at the SAM Gallery’s March 2 reception for Luminosity.

When viewing one of Andy Eccleshall’s paintings, some might say that the scene captured in Evening Show – with the red barn against an open dusk sky with a tinge of orange and red on the horizon – reminds them of their grandparents’ farm in Ohio or Wisconsin. Others might remark, when viewing his work Stars over Liberty, that they imagine dragons from the game Skyrim flying in the clouds over the sharp peaks of the Cascades. 

That is what Eccleshall intends his audience to feel and interpret when they view his paintings, which are now being featured at the Luminosity exhibit at the SAM Gallery at the Seattle Art Museum from March 1 to March 31.

Andy Eccleshall (left) chats with Edmonds’ Cole Gallery owner Denise Cole at the SAM Gallery reception.

“When someone sees a painting and they say they know what that day feels like, I feel like I’ve done my job because that’s what I’m trying to do,” he said. “In my experience, being in the landscape, what I’m trying to convey is irrelevant because somebody would see in a painting and I would see something completely different. That’s totally fine.”

Eccleshall also announced that he is retiring from 30 years of commercial and residential mural painting at The Mural Works, Inc. He said that he has been planning to exit the mural painting business for about 10 years as he was developing the fine art side of business, which had accelerated last year.

“This year is the culmination of that work, and we are able to retire from the mural painting and fully embrace this new chapter of fine art that we’ve worked toward,” he said. 

“I figured eventually I would retire to do paintings when I get too old and creaky to do the murals – and just so happens it’s this year!” added Eccleshall, who is 56. “With the show at the SAM Gallery, it would be 30 years this year since I started painting murals. Well, that’s a nice, round number. It would seem like a good jump-off point.”

Andy Eccleshall in 1996 in New York City with the first mural company he formed, “After Verrio.” (Photo courtesy Andy Eccleshall)

During the past year, Eccleshall noticed the SAM Gallery would “like” his posts on Instagram but never commented. Last fall, SAM Gallery manager and Edmonds resident Erik Bennion visited Eccleshall’s studio at Graphite Art Center during Art Walk and told Eccleshall that he was interested in having his artwork displayed at the SAM Gallery.

“We chose to represent Andy’s work because we thought he would be a great fit in our gallery and he did not have downtown Seattle representation,” Bennion said. “His use of light and eye for composition is what really struck me. He is an incredible painter, depicting the Northwest in a fabulous way. What more could you ask for?” 

The SAM Gallery represents more than 50 local artists from the states of Washington and Oregon and has been in business for 50 years.

Andy Eccleshall reflects on his early years of his illustration career.

Born in Stafford, England, Eccleshall began his architectural illustration, painting and printing career at age 15. After seven years of working as a bus driver and illustrator, he went back to school at Exeter College of Art and Design for three years to study illustration. 

“When I left school at age 16, I went into business as an illustrator and artist, and at 16, you think you know everything,” said Eccleshall, who graduated from Exeter in 1994. “By the time you get to 21, you realize you don’t. I needed more time, more schooling, more experience and education in art to really make a leap and go forward.”

Eccleshall recalled that a few of his classmates joked that they would be “obsolete” because in the year following their graduation, the college started a digital art program that introduced Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator and other art software.

Balance greets guests at the SAM Gallery.

“We were the last generation out of that university to be taught how to draw,” he said. “I wouldn’t have it any other way. But it’s funny how we left and within six months, everybody wanted the Adobe experience. We haven’t touched any of that.”

Eccleshall moved to Seattle with his wife, Ingrid Junker, in 1999 and has made Edmonds his home since 2002. In early 2022, he began working out of his studio at Graphite Art Center.

“Everything I do is from an experience that I’ve had, whether it’s looking out the window and seeing an incredible sky or driving through Skagit Valley and landing on something that catches my eye.” he said. “[Sometimes] I would wake up at 3 in the morning and scribble something down. So when I do a painting, I’m trying to recapture that feeling of it.”

Often, Eccleshall would work on five to six paintings at once, working on one painting while letting the paint dry on the others. It would take two to three months to complete one painting.

Guests view Andy Eccleshall’s work.

He said that artist Andrew Wyeth is one of his greatest influences on his work because of his use of negative space. Wyeth is well-known for his realistic depictions of farmlands and homesteads in Maine, using a minimalist technique.

“I love the way he treats his composition,” Eccleshall said. “He has a great way of putting in just enough information for the viewer to understand the painting without going overboard with extra fill-ins.” Other favorite artists of Eccleshall include Maxwell Parrish, Fredrich Edwin Church and other Hudson River Valley School painters during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Andy Eccleshall’s tools that make his paintings at his studio at Graphite Art Center.

Eccleshall also credits his art teachers at Exeter, who had given him support and feedback to his studies and work, as well as the Edmonds community for giving him continued support.

“I had nothing but positive support and encouragement. I’m really grateful for that,” he said. “I’m thankful for the opportunity to be there [SAM Gallery], totally unexpected. I’m pretty excited and nervous.” 

Eccleshall’s latest work at his studio at Graphite Art Center.

Luminosity at the SAM Gallery is located on the bottom floor of the Seattle Art Museum behind the bookstore and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Follow Andy Eccleshall on Instagram and Facebook.

— Story and photos by Nick Ng

  1. Andy is fabulous both as a painter and as a human being. We are fortunate to have two murals he painted in our house of our gorgeous mountains…places with special memories for us. They are the first things guests to our house notice. What some don’t notice is that our dogs, including K9 Keb who has gained some fame as the main character in a book about SAR dogs, are standing on the slopes of Mt Dickerman, one of our favorite hikes.

  2. Andy’s work is fabulous. His paintings accentuate he Big Sky nature of the Northwest. fI you haven’t already stopped by Graphite, you can see some of his work hanging there, and he is happy to talk to curious people who visit his studio.

  3. My wife and I absolutely love the pair of murals “Before Edmonds”! I have to stop and admire them every time I walk past! They are really a lovely depiction of the way things used to look around here! And my dog likes the white dog (I don’t actually know if that’s true, but I certainly do!)

  4. I feel fortunate to be living in Edmonds – where I noticed and was able to follow Andy’s work – see his influence grow. He is such an outgoing and kind person, open to answering questions about his paintings, and his ideas. Now Andy has a show at SAM – CONGRATULATIONS! And Happiness that you can now fully follow your fine arts calling.

  5. Delighted to see this article as it helps this community better understand why Edmonds was the first city to be named a Creative District. Andy is a gifted artist, community minded, and a very good person. Pleased for him – and, I hope with this new show he’ll be able to replace those paint-stained pants…

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